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invictius

how long have creative drivers been so crap?

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I honestly haven't touched them since the soundblaster 16/irq days, and at my new job I encountered lives, audigy, audigy 2zz, xfi, titanium fatality pro etc etc, half of them pci express... I've never had problems with an entire brand of products in my life! I've done a tiny bit of reading and have seen generally negative feeling towards them for the last 9 years or so... when did they go wrong and how?

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I've had my fair share of crap with their Audigy products (at least the ones carrying an EMU processor).

Basically, they've started having real issues with PCI bus mastering on cards that had an EMU DSP chip (aka, the "real deal" Audigys), something which cursed the entire Audigy line from start to end, and bled into the first PCI-e X-Fi ones too.

This could be made worse with some chipsets and BIOS settings, granted, but ironically, it was their lesser cards (e.g. the Live! 24-bit, Audigy SE, Audigy Value, X-Fi Audio etc.) which were unaffected, as they had no EMU chip.

Other than that, their software and even their drivers were more bloated than the one for other cards. At least in the DOS days, even if they shipped a lot of crap with their cards, most of it was functional/useful, and for gaming you really didn't need vendor drivers.

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invictius said:

how long have creative drivers been so crap?

Probably since forever. I try to avoid getting too creative; we have more than enough crappy drivers on the roads here.

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I've had almost nothing but pain from Creative products since 2000. To Hell with them! No, they don't get to bring shotguns to Hell.

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There's only so much you can really do with audio output. Once your device has enough channels and a very high SnR, there's really nowhere else to go at the hardware level. Unless you start focusing on the professional audio market which is extremely niche.

SoundBlaster reached this apex in the later 90s. That's when they had nowhere else to turn but to invent useless features, bloatware, and market the hell out their shit. Seriously, do the words "titanium fatality" sound innovative to you?

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I find my SB Audigy 2 to be better for listening to music than my [much newer] motherboard's sound chip, and equally good for games and movies. That's about all I can say on the topic of audio hardware. But I trust my ears.

Bloated software, for sure.

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The only SoundBlaster card I remember having that wasn't awful was the original Audigy 1. We still use it in very old computers that are lying around and need an audio device. Mind you, we've had this card since 2003! Even at that, it came with a ton of bloat that can only be avoided through a custom installation.

I have an Audigy 2 in my old WinXP computers; the thing is probably responsible for more hardware related blue screens than anything else I can think of. Back in the day, my father bought me a SoundBlaster X-Fi Fatality or whatever its called. It was broken, out of the box, had crackling sound on Doom source ports, had broken midi drivers, external hardware components didn't work... it was a mess. My father bought me a second one, and it was just as bad. I should point out, this was when I finally got the Audigy 2 -- which was better, but still had issues.

My father ultimately kept both of those X-Fi cards, hoping he could get some use out of them. My father is by no means a gamer and basically just goes on the internet for youtube and listening to music. The X-Fi cards gave him problems with basic things like YouTube!

I should point out, by the way, that I wasn't ungrateful or upset over those X-Fi's. They ultimately became something of a running joke between my father and I. :)

Apart from my parents old 1992 / '93 Packard Bell, the only non-SoundBlaster product I've ever had was when I purchased my laptop. It came with a sound chip that came from some manufacturer I've never heard of, and even that didn't work correctly out of the box. I was stunned I could even find a driver update for it.

While SoundBlaster has always been that absolute bottom of the barrel, I think sound card manufacturers in general seem to have a habit of producing garbage. Barring the Audigy 1 I mentioned above, the only computer that never had sound related problems was our 1995 / '96 Windows 95 NEC; it came with a Yamaha sound chip that worked like a dream.

Edit: I forgot to mention that my father used to have a SoundBlaster Live! in his old Windows ME computer back in the day. That card worked fine.

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Realtek cards in recent gaming grade motherboards have surpassed anything any Creative product I've had in my life. Getting an updated driver from Creative seemed like a chore when I had one.

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esselfortium said:
Probably since forever.

The DOS drivers for my SBPro2 in 1993 wouldn't consistently load, possibly due to the phase of the moon or what colour socks I was wearing. Fortunately they seem to have been used only by Creative's own software (the mixer and various demos). I nuked them from config.sys when I discovered that software that spoke directly to the hardware (i.e. everything) worked fine without them.

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Creative Labs was a lair of crooks who made bad soundcards and they only achieved quasi-monopoly because they sued all their competitors (on spurious grounds, and Creative lost the cases, but the legal fees were still enough to bankrupt other companies).

Despite their name, Creative Labs was never creative. Their greatest innovation was to take the Ad Lib card, add a game port on it, and call it a day. Meanwhile, better soundcards were being made by Aureal, Gravis, and Orchid.

Nowadays, the Realtek AC'97 stuff that's embedded in every motherboard out there is leagues better than even the highest-grade Creative products. A few years ago my brother built a gaming PC and chose to use a dedicated soundcard because it'd be "better" right? The X-Fi soundcard didn't work half the time, crackled when playing music, and even caused crashes in games.

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Gez said:

Creative Labs was a lair of crooks who made bad soundcards and they only achieved quasi-monopoly because they sued all their competitors (on spurious grounds, and Creative lost the cases, but the legal fees were still enough to bankrupt other companies).

Despite their name, Creative Labs was never creative. Their greatest innovation was to take the Ad Lib card, add a game port on it, and call it a day. Meanwhile, better soundcards were being made by Aureal, Gravis, and Orchid.

Our absurd patent system ensures unmotivated shit producers are in charge of innovation.

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No shit. The SoundBlasterZ control panel sometimes doesn't open at all after the machine has been on a while. I have to reset the computer to access it - wtf?

This combined with AMD drivers causing BSODs is driving me nuts. I think I will be avoiding Creative and AMD in the future, nothing but frustration from their products.

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